Letter: Lottery addiction

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Sir: The alarmist tone of your leading article overlooks the scale of lottery playing throughout the world. The per capita sales in the UK are 24th on the international list. In 1997 we spent only pounds 98 a head, whereas South Dakota achieved pounds 463.

The ills you describe are not apparent in New York, which spent pounds 138 per person last year, Norway a similar amount and Massachusetts pounds 322. The difference is that all these hugely successful lotteries did not need to lose hundreds of millions of pounds in profits to their operators, because their laws are better framed. Oflot is legally required to maximise the funds to the good causes, yet mistakenly accepts that large profits are the only way of running a successful lottery.

DENIS VAUGHAN

Executive Director

The Lottery Promotion Company

London WC2

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